This week’s featured artist is a highly talented crafter. Kimberly Sturrup Roberts has a very lively imagination which is always leading to innovative new ideas which, along with her very skilled fingers, ensure that she always has some exciting new project in hand.
Kimberly’s creative talents first came to the attention of the people of Abaco when she opened a shop in Memorial Plaza in 1995 which sold Bahamian-made crafts and craft supplies. Then in 1998 she began her own special line of crafts, naming her company Bahama Dawn. In 2005 she closed shop and opened her own studio where she keeps very busy with her creations. Her skills are not limited to any one type of craft for as she states on her website; “I like to melt glass and metal, stitch fabric and get messy in clay.”
Kimberly is well known for her quilting, a talent which she learned from her mother who is an extremely gifted quilter. Every year they create a beautiful quilt together which they donate to the Bahamas National Trust to be auctioned at the ‘Arts for the Parks’ show to raise funds for the Trust. From a very early age the seed of creativity was established in Kimberly for while her mother was busy sewing clothes for her daughter, Kim was emulating her by busily sewing dresses for her Barbie dolls.
Kim’s talents were further nurtured by her Home Economics teacher at St. Andrews School in Nassau who, Kim says; “Was very particular and if the stitching was not neat enough she would make you pick it all out and do it over again.” In addition to amazing bed size quilts, Kimberley also quilts bags, wall hangings and pillows.
Also from the age of seven years Kim enjoyed attending Bahamas Ceramics in Nassau since she always had an aptitude for many types of arts and crafts. She began entrepreneurship early by painting and selling T-shirts while in high school and also made a lot of her own clothes. After leaving high school she attended Palm Beach Atlantic University where she studied studio art and psychology with an emphasis on photography, sculpture and painting. Her intention was to become an art therapist but instead became a successful entrepreneur.
Nowadays Kimberly has turned her attention to glass work and metalwork which she says is a natural progression from the stained glass work which she previously used to do a lot of. She particularly enjoys making jewellery and creates very stylish and unique pieces incorporating glass beads, see glass, silver and other metals.
All of the glass beads she makes herself from a long glass rod like a pencil which she melts in a flame then forms into the shape she wants; she also creates free-form glass owls, birds’ nests, flowers and fish. Many other interesting pieces such as Kim’s own copper and silver crosses and other ‘vintage stuff’ and rhinestones are incorporated into her ‘one-of-a-kind’ necklaces, bracelets and picture frames. A treasure vial is one of her latest innovations and these little ‘Message in a Bottle’ pendants are filled with ‘dreams’ such as fabric scraps, seashells, sea glass and glitter.
Kimberly really dislikes repetition and so is always trying out new things and attending different courses to learn new techniques. She is very excited about her next bead making course in December. Just for fun she enjoys constructing mixed media wall hangings incorporating clay, paper, paint and wood. When she was running her shop in Marsh Harbour Kimberly used to teach arts and crafts and people have been asking her to begin teaching again so she is planning on beginning classes in quilting, jewelry and glass bead making. Anyone interested in attending these classes or purchasing any of her work can contact her at: www.bahamadawn.blogspot.com or Bahama Dawn on Facebook.
Ninety five percent of Kimberly’s work is sold online throughout Nassau, Abaco and the United States but there are also selected pieces for sale in Palm Cottage and Java. She displays annually at ‘Art for the Parks’ the annual Bahamas National Trust Art Show at the Abaco Beach Resort and is now gearing up to begin showing again at the pre-Christmas Jollification in Nassau.
In addition to her love of arts and crafts Kimberly is also a great animal lover. She works tirelessly with ‘Friends of Abaco Animals’ rescuing stray dogs and cats and personally provides a safe haven for any animals which cannot be adopted out. Among the dogs presently living at her house she has five with epilepsy, two which are feral and will not let anybody touch them except her, two with thyroid problems two which are blind and one that is deaf.
In addition she has several cats and 15 freshwater turtles which people didn’t want any more once they grew past the cute baby stage they were at when they bought them. “People do not realize that these little tiny turtles will grow into plate size creatures,” she stated.
In addition to all this, this busy lady finds time to run half marathons and is even planning a full marathon in the New Year. Her mind like her body is always on the move and she says that her head is now brimming with new ideas for Halloween decorations.